Friday, December 28, 2007

Best. Christmas Gift. Ever.

Because my sister rules, she got me a Talking!Zuko doll.

Sadly, he has yet to tell me he loves me.

Thanks, Fi.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Warning: angry rant ahead.

Would everyone please STFU about parity pricing for books and read this.

The price of a book, like the price of every other commercially sold item, is determined by two factors: costs and market forces. Publishers price their books high enough so that they cover the costs and make a profit, if possible, and low enough so that buyers will choose their books instead of a competitor's. Costs drive prices up; competitive forces drive them down. Thus works a free market.

In Canada, recent changes in the rate of our dollar relative to the US dollar have focused attention on the ongoing disparity between Canadian and US prices. Many people have assumed that parity between the two currencies should mean parity in the retail prices of consumer products. It is, perhaps, an easy assumption, but it is not soundly based. Canada and the US are two different countries, not only with different currencies, but with different tax structures, labour regulations, funding systems. They are two different markets, with two different sets of costs, and two different sets of competitive forces.

For books that originate in Canada, this distinction comes into play at every stage. For example, in Canada freelance editors charge significantly more than American freelance editors (who in turn charge more than editors in India). If you are publishing a Canadian book, and you need an editor who knows what a Timbit is, you are going to have to pay a Canadian editor. Up goes the cost of your book. Canadian publishers face higher costs across the board, but if they wish to sell into the US, they must address the competitive forces that keep book prices lower in the US. They price their books lower for the US market, and count on higher volumes to offset the smaller margin.

Most of the noise around this issue, however, arises from US books coming into Canada. In those cases, most of the costs are incurred in the US, and so consumers expect to pay US prices when the dollars are at par. But there are still differences that come into play. For example, the minimum wage is significantly higher in Canada. The cost of warehouse staff in Canada who handle the book when it comes in from the US and ship it to Canadian stores is higher than in the US. Higher distribution costs mean higher prices....

If you're so goddamn cheap that you can't afford to shell out the extra $2 to $5, then borrow your Oprah pick at the library, get it used, or order it online.

I'm sick of people thinking they can have whatever they want at whatever price they demand in the name of "good business." Underselling a writer's work is not good business. Diminishing the dollar value of the work that goes behind producing a book does not help Canadian publishers.

Face it, you can't have what you want, when you want it, right now, just because you're a customer "who spends lots of money at this store." The argument, "It's not fair" is no argument at all. Mom didn't let you act that way when you were six, so you damned well better not be acting that way at 36.

Stop bugging the poor saps behind the counter at Indigo. They don't have control over this kind of thing and they aren't paid enough to listen to you whine about the money you could be spending on an overpriced latte.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Poster Child

A friend passed this on to me, regarding the awfulness that is Rob Liefeld, comic book artist from my early years of reading.

It's long, but totally worth the read.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Here comes Dr. Tran!


Coming Soon: Dragonball: the live action movie.

Okay, without going into great detail, speculation, or in-depth analysis let's just list out the possible pros and cons of this flick.

Possible Pros:
Produced by Hong Kong comedy/action god Stephen Chow
Stars James Marsters (i.e. Buffy's Spike) as Piccolo
Directed by James Wong of Final Destination fame
Stars Justin Chatwin (i.e. the whiny son from War of the Worlds) as Goku

Possible Cons:

The cartoon involves so much male posing and "powering up" for "final moves" that most of the show focuses on one character or another growling like he's constipated, only to release "all their power" in "one do-or-die ka-maya-maya" that ultimately....misses.

And the next episode is EXACTLY. THE. SAME.

On the bright side, Marsters might have to show up painted green with bulgy muscles and antannae.

I hope to see ridiculous over-the-top moments like this.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Little Things


Yeah, I've gone the crazy. It was a long weekend of reading about "pleasure jewels" and copulating with dragons and faeries. What an absolutely fantastic book. Everyone: you owe it to yourselves to read Bertrice Small's Hetar series. I've mentioned it before: the last book in the series was The Twilight Lord.***

But then I downloaded the latest episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and then my weekend suddenly went from scoring -100 to +1,000,000. Oh, bittorrent, I love you!

* * * * * * *

On a totally separate side note, today is Remembrance Day. I haven't bought a poppy this year because I tend to stab myself repeatedly during the month until I look like a diabetic with bad aim, or else lose the darned thing before November 11. Every time I saw someone wearing one, or spotted an old veteran with his collection box standing in a drafty TTC station, my conscience would be nudged. But then I realized that I don't need a velvet-fuzzed plastic heroine blossom to actually appreciate those brave men and women who served. All I need is my innate guilt at being alive, making my home in a country blessed with freedom and abundance....and a little show called Avatar.

So thank you, men and women who served. You fought and died were maimed and survived so that we would all have the opportunity to bitch about little things, and rejoice in little things; to actually care about little things, like whether we should buy lil' pins. I think we owe you a little more than the spare change in our pockets.

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent Harlequin’s positions, strategies or opinions. One would think this was evident, but new blogging guidelines at work force me to post this every time I mention what I do for a living.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

RIP Fabulous Moolah

Sadly, one of the great wrestling femmes of WWE (formerly WWF) has passed away at the age of 84.

I will always remember her for her female presence on the Hulk Hogan's Rock n' Roll wrestling cartoon.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bionic Failure

I finally managed to view the first two episodes of Bionic Woman last night. If I could sum up the show in a few words, I would do so and simply leave it at that. But because this ill-conceived remake was so phenomenally bad that I actually woke up this morning thinking about how bad it was, I am forced to blog about it ad nauseum.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead.

Banking on Super Girl Power themes that made shows like Buffy and Dark Angel so popular, the first episode of Bionic Woman follows the soon-to-be-no-longer-ho-hum life of Jaime Sommers, a young woman struggling to juggle living with her stereotypically whiny teenage sister who was abandoned on her doorstep by their absentee father, with her lackluster job, which she's taken on in lieu of going to Harvard because she feels some kind of obligation to said whiny teenage sister.

We see Jaime at her job, working as a bartender at a really wild looking nightclub. She is not only the most conservatively dressed bartender I've ever seen, but she's the slowest one, too. Is it possibly, Jaime, that all those people crowding the counter are waiting for you to pour that shot with just a little more urgency?

Cut to dinner with the boyfriend of 5+ months where she drops a bomb that's sure to complicate her boring life. Shocker! She's pregnant! How will that affect her life?

By some turns of the wheel, boyfriend--conveniently-placed nano-biologist/mad scientist guy whose name is unimportant and who is even duller than Jaime--drives her home and they are involved in a car accident that (insert medical montage here) results in said mad scientist replacing her legs, ear, eye and one arm with $50-million worth of implants that swirl through her newly-healed flesh like the cooling dredges of a phosphorescent lava lamp.

(Insert some boring conflict stuff here about why the mad scientist was allowed to install all that hardware into his now not-pregnant girlfriend. Question how or why he was even allowed to bring her to this super-secret underground complex.)

Some more turns. Boyfriend helps Jaime escape, but obviously has an ulterior motive. Whiny teenage sister freaks out on her about where her sister's been. The explanation: skiing. This coming from the leader of the "clandestine organization dedicated to protecting the world from threats." Or something like that.

They lost me at the word "clandestine."

At some point, Jaime and mad-scientist boyfriend have boring bionic sex. Not even remotely interesting to watch. I was expecting her to...well, maybe that part of her wasn't replaced. But c'mon! The possibilities for comedy were ignored as much as the opportunity to give Lee Majors a cameo.

Then, boyfriend gets shot by--ta-da!--Katie Sackoff, "the first bionic woman" tasked to end his life, and the only really bright spot to the whole first episode.

Now, instead of using her newfound powers to rush her critically wounded boyfriend to the hospital, Jaime goes after Starbuck--I mean, bionic woman #1. They have a big catfight in the rain on a rooftop. It's a draw. Some more turns and boyfriend is whisked off to the hospital. End of first episode.

By the beginning of the second episode, boyfriend is dead, Jaime finds out that he has a dossier on her as thick as her skull, and whiny teenage sister is still as whiny as ever. Some more stupid stuff happens, Isiah Washington of gay-bashing fame is introduced, and nothing makes sense. At this stage, you can probably tell I'm too tired to explain the rest, but suffice to say, I was not impressed, especially when Isiah speaks a copyeditor's key freak-out phrase: "It was just merely a testing ground."

I could go on and on about the nonsensical plot, poor writing, and the characters' utter lack of personality. I got no sense whatsoever of who any of these people were, or what they were about. Everyone was annoying or boring or both. Moments that had real potential to be awe-inspiring or different fell completely flat or were ripped off from some other show or movie. (See Jaime's jumping the rooftop moment a la Peter Petrelli/Spider-Man/Neo/The Tick.)

Does this mean that the female superhero genre is at its end? No. The problem with Bionic Woman is not in its concept, but in everything else. As a viewer accustomed to the intricate drama of Heroes and Battlestar Galactica, the witty dialogue of Buffy and Angel, and the angst and layers that permeate a simply children's cartoon like Avatar: The Last Airbender, I am forced to have a higher expectation for all my wicked sci-fi robots and chicks and crime and secret organization shows.

To the Bionic Woman writers and producers: please, please, please, pull it together, and for god's sake, give us something worthy to watch!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thankful that it's not the clap

It's not strep throat.

That, at least, is my prediction: I went to the doctor this past Monday and they took a swab to check for strep, but since they haven't returned any results on the test, I'm assuming they've found nothing to be concerned about.

Of course, it always raises red flags when the doctor asks: "Is there any possibility of gonorrhea or clamydia?"

I stared at her blankly. "No."
Doc: "Are you sure? Is there any strange discharge or burning sensation?"
Me: (thinking) Aren't you the doctor? Shouldn't you be telling me if it's the clap? And wouldn't strange discharges and burning sensations be the first thing I'd tell you about? "I'm sure."
Doc: "Well, ask your partner about it."
Me: "Uh...okay."

So thus far, I've ascertained it is not the clap or whatever euphemism they use for clamydia. It seems to be getting better, and I can swallow solid foods now with only a little difficulty (still working on toast and hard, rough foods).

Of course, now I'm actually sick with a touch of a cold/cough, so it's hard telling one way or another. On the other hand, yay for food! Healed just in time for turkey!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Into the mouth of madness!!!

At this stage, you are thinking to yourself, "We really need to take that digital camera away from Vicki because that last thing I want a picture of is her god-awful dentistry."

But I'm posting this because I have to share the INCREDIBLE PAIN THAT HAS BEEN PLAGUING ME ALL WEEK.

That white spot in the back of my throat that looks like a cross between the Sea of Serenity and a reverse nipple is a canker sore that popped up on Tuesday and has been steadily growing in size. Right now, it's about 0.5 cm in diameter.

It's so swollen and painful, I get stabbing pains in my right ear canal and burning aches through my throat. Swallowing has become a serious issue. Food tends to rub and irritate it--anything more abrasive than soup puts me in tears.

I've been drinking fluids and taking ibuprofen to try to bring the swelling down, but nothing's worked so far. Gargling with salt water is ineffective, as I learned quickly, since my tongue blocks off my throat exactly where I need the saltwater to go.

You are probably saying to yourself, "Vicki, go to a damned doctor already!" Or else you are making jokes of a sexual nature, and sniggering about some sort of venereal disease. Haw haw herpes...yeah, yeah.

But man, this thing is enormous and really starting to hurt. I'm working with the theory that I have "yeet hay": too much "hot" energy in my body that causes breakouts. Crazy Chinese balance medicine thing, but 5000 years of Chinese history can't be wrong. So I'm trying to take in some "cold" foods, but relief is a long time coming, if the size of this thing has any bearing on my recovery.

Anyone out there have any suggestion on how to deal with this effectively? My stupid brain seems to think sticking a knife back there is a bad idea, so my tongue keeps pushing it away. I'm desperate, here, people. Help!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More Romance? Gee, what a surprise....

Harlequin is hosting its annual Romance Report Survey for 2008.

I COMMAND YOU to take it right now! It's anonymous and will take maybe about 10 minutes (perfect time waster for those slow work days.)

Go to it now! Click on Romance Survey to do it! DO IT, DO IT!

There's also a neat little "Confessional" section where you can divulge your deepest, darkest secrets to the world anonymously!

And if you want to read the 2006 and 2007 findings, they're available, too. Check them out here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hypothetically speaking... ( AKA the post that might scare John)

Working at Harlequin and having read my share of bad breakups, I came to wonder: how does one go about picking a day to break up with their long-time partner?

The answers and reasoning behind each will differ greatly, of course. In some jerkier Harlequin instances, heroine's former male counterparts will simply blurt out their intentions to ditch them at the worst possible moment; or the man will leave them at the altar with a note, or else there's a stoic caught-you-in-bed moment where the character just picks up and leaves to find themselves in Alaska or Montana or some such.

But how does it work in real life?

Say you've been together for years. You've developed what you once thought was a meaningful relationship and you still care for your mate, but perhaps you've fallen out of love, or your partner has begun to smell of a decaying beaver, or you simply loathe everything single thing about them, or whatever. But since you consider yourself a relatively sympathetic human being, you try to take their feelings into consideration. Do you say to yourself:

1) "Hmm, Monday afternoon's a good time to dump him (hypothetical him, John, stop worrying). Mondays already suck. Might as well have a fresh start to the week. Then again, I don't want him to brood about it all week and not get any work done...."

2) "Hmm, Fridays are good. Though I don't want him to brood about it all weekend. That would just ruin his time off."

3) "Hmm, Wednesday at lunch isn't bad. It's over the hump, he can have a day in shock and then get drunk on Thursday, and call in hungover on Friday. Long brood. Crap...."

In addition, there's always a choice of when in the year to break up. Statistically speaking, most divorces and separations happen around the major holidays when families are forced together and often fail to be civil to one another. But what's suckier than being dumped just before Valentine's Day? Or Christmas? Or being dumped on either of those days?

Yet another factor would include your personal tolerance for continuing your aimless and lackluster relationship. For whatever reason, you've decided to cut ties with your partner. Maybe you had some grand personal revelation. Or maybe you realize that after X years together, you really don't see yourselves getting hitched. Do you march right up to your soon-to-be-ex and say, "Hey, you, we're through" ASAP? Or do you brood over it until you can't take it anymore and explode in their faces and tell them how much they suck?

Having never been through a real breakup, I can't say I completely understand this thought process. And before a hundred people jump on me to ask me what's wrong with my relationship, nothing is: I'm trying to write a few more books and I'm toying with this breakup scenario that I can't comprehend. I love John very much, and he is probably reading this right now and wondering what he's done wrong this time.

Nothing, my love. You've done nothing at all. I luvoo lots!

All this thinking kind of makes me wonder if people should apply for licenses to have a relationship--ones that need to be renewed every year. That way couples can just let them lapse if they don't want to be together anymore. Plus, they'd get nifty cards for their wallets reminding them exactly when their anniversary is, along with favorite color, shoe size, inseam length, allergies, birthdays and other vital stats.

Yeah. Best plan ever. Yeah.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pimpin' products

Have time to waste? Have too much body hair?

This site is for you.

Check out the music video. The Philips Bodygroom song will be stuck in your head for hours after.

Friday, September 07, 2007

More Bowie cuteness

So cute you'll get cavities.

Video courtesy of my sister Jenny. Bookmark it for those dreary days when you need a smile and a little persepctive.

Watch it here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I need a young priest and an old priest...

Baby Bowie at 6 months is rapidly developing oral communication and motor skills. Her favourite pastime is to combine the two skills while sitting in her high chair and eating (and thus spraying her feeder with food), or whilst in her bouncy chair, doing her baby thing and acting like she's all that.

Which she is, obviously.

Of course, in addition to her very cute babbling and laughing, she's also taken to scaring the beejebus out of us with her impression of Linda Blair. Have a look.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cos' playing's what we do best...

(Left: Me n' Gavin Blair, creator of Reboot.)

I've just come off a weekend of pure, unadulterated nerdosity. This year's FanExpo was probably the biggest one I've ever attended, with vendors, freaks, and geeks galore.

Aside from the fantastic displays, panels, and features, including guests like Adam West, Tricia Helfer, Malcolm McDowell and Jonathan Frakes, one of the main draws of the show has become the amazing cosplayers who come out in full gear to these packed shows to strut their stuff. It is perhaps one of the only times and places outside of Halloween that I feel stupid for not wearing a costume.

This was the first time I've ever purchased a deluxe all-weekend pass that let me into some of the exclusive panels, along with the popular Masquerade, a showcase/competition of costumes.

Now, I have nothing against cosplayers. I think they're brave and courageous and talented people who are showing their fanatical support for their fandoms. I respect their fandoms and I completely understand the desire to don silly hats and full-out gear and be seen for the freak I am.

But OMIGOD, the Masquerade made me cringe so many times, I think my face and stomach are in permanent twist-tie mode. There were 68 entries, and I could only remember a handful of them because my brain decided not to deal with storing memories of the others.

Why, you ask, was it so bad? Well, there's a formula to gaining audience popularity that I think many entrants failed to understand. I thought a lot about it while hiding my face in embarrassment for the tenth guy or so to receive the "WTF?" response from the audience.

The formula--or checklist--should be as follows:

1) Recognizability: is your fandom recognized by the geek public at large? Sure, you may know all the lines from episode 26 of Fruits Basket and understand the characters inside out....but WHAT THE HELL IS FRUITS BASKET?

This may be the group of peers that would understand you best, but because there are so many damned shows and movies, especially in the anime genre, not everyone will know who you are.

Star Wars, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Sailor Moon, InuYasha, Full Metal Alchemist, Dragon Ball, Naruto, a few video game characters...think TV spoofs and you have an idea of what's popular and instantly recognizable by nerds at large.

Obscure anime and manga titles...okay, hooray for fandom love, but please, do the rest of us a favor and don't compete, especially if you're going to throw in some really lame inside joke. Which brings me to my next point....

2) Performance: this is a tough one. A lot of people understand the basic "do a little dance and get a laugh out of the horrible coordination" routine. But there's a point when it stops being funny. It's about 10 to 15 seconds into the show.

Please, for the love of god, keep it short. And stop the show at ONE laugh. If you wring even one laugh out of the audience, you've done your job. Get off the stage, for god's sake. Don't drag it out.

The acoustics in these increasingly bigger auditoriums is terrible. Prerecord your performance for the techies to play, or else learn to project and enunciate. Like this guy.

Most importantly, practice! Showmanship and stage presence is just as important as whatever it is you're trying to get across. That's why the Klingon dude in the link above was in the Master division and not the Novice one. (Really, you should watch it.)

3) Costume: you'd think this would be a no-brainer. But there were good costumes, and there were GOOD costumes. Craftsmanship counts, even if you're only being viewed from far, far away. Details like accessories and weapons add all that much more.

Pick the division that you're suited's why they exist.

On another note, it helps if you look like the character you're trying to portray. I've seen fat guys in red tights pretending to be Spider-Man. Not pretty. Please, if you're going to compete, pick a costume appropriate to your physique. Or at least allow your dignity the ability to make fun of the fact that you're completely ill-suited to play whoever it is you're portraying.

Muscle suits on tiny guys are always funny. Explaining that you're Wonder Woman after forty years of beer drinking=also funny. But man boobs/three spare tires + spandex + serious demeanor=not funny.

I'd hate to say it, but as my companion pointed out, you're going to be judged when you get up on stage. Such is the nature of a large crowd of anonymous nerds. It's like being in a chatroom full of WoW geeks booing the noob. Only it's live. And so very harsh.

4) Impact: Let's face it, groups are easier to remember, more impressive, and generally put forth a more united front. Like this awesome Reboot group.

But don't group miscellaneous characters together and mash together some kind of performance (see obscure inside jokes above.) Yeah, it's funny to you, but you're almost certain to get the "WTF?" rating on your performance.

I know, I know, "what happened to picking a costume appropriate to your physique? I can't do that and be with my friends, they don't watch the show blah blah blah..." Chances are, your fandom will have a meet-up at the con. Get online, find them, and hook up. Make new friends. If you're going to compete, make it the best performance you can.

5) Have fun: kinda hard if you follow all these rules, ain't it?

Which is why the smart people seem to know not to compete. I saw a bazillion fantastic costumes that did not appear on stage, but got lots of attention and kudos for their efforts.

What, then, is the point of having a Masquerade?

Who knows? It was 2 1/2 hours of near-torture, made bearable by the tongue-in-cheek MC and the occasional entrant who made the time I spent waiting in line outside worthwhile.

The point is, we could drastically cut down the number of blah entries and increase the number of "Wow!" contestants if people just thought about it a moment. I love a good show, but I love a GOOD show, not a hide-behind-my-hands-in-embarrassment shindig.

Would I go to the Masquerade again?

The answer: yes. Simply for the fact that I can watch other people make fools of themselves, thus reminding myself that I am fortunate to be (I hope) one of the smarter people who will never compete.

Still, I wish I had the cojones to be one of them....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What I do during my spare time when I'm not writing smut...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I went for an annual eye exam at my optometrist's today--my first in three years. Turns out my prescription has gone a factor of 100 in each eye.

So now I'm a myopic 450/575 or so. (Actually, since I couldn't quite see the numbers, I'm only assuming that's what the prescription said.) Meanwhile, I am sitting here at my computer, squinting like my parents at the fuzziness of everything. They used those damn eyedrops to dilate your pupils until they're the size of tokens so they can check on the health of your retina. It's liquid speculum for your iris!

Check out my freaky EVIL eyes:

And no, I do not have jaundice. I played with the contrast and brightness so you could see my ENORMOUS PUPILS.

If you look carefully, the reflection of my hands looks like it's is holding it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Off, off and away!

So, I've sent my manuscript for my first romance novel, All in the Details, off to Harlequin Silhouette.

Yay me!

Yes, I'm relieved and kinda excited, but I'm not putting all my hopes and dreams in that ginormous envelope that cost me $13.63 to send off. I'm working on more books, and even if I don't ever get published, I know I'll have at least tried.

Wait, though, this is the age of the Internets....GASP!! I CAN SELF-PUBLISH!!

And so I did. Because some of you are asking yourselves, "Vicki writes smut? I gotta see this!"

Chapter 1 is right here. Critical reviews (and praise) are welcome! Even if you hate it (and I don't expect you to love it), let me know!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Foisting off life's shit

Lately, I've been cleaning out my possessions from my parents' place and sorting them out into three and a half piles: Keep, Give away, Sell at the Sci-Fi/Anime flea market, and Garage Sale.

I've come across a few realizations as I root through all my worldly possessions:
1) I own too much shit.
2) The world produces too much shit.
3) Sentimental keepsakes make no sense when I can't remember why I'm keeping this shit.
4) Maslow's hierarchy of needs apparently includes shit.

Alas, the Star Wars memorabilia I once coveted has been rendered useless and inconsequential, considering the sheer tidal wave of crap that's come out since Episode 1 through 3 were released. So, I'm getting rid of just about all of it; that, and a lot of very hard-to-find Ranma 1/2 stuff we accumulated over time.

I'm not sure at what point things cross from treasure to trash: probably at the point when you realize, holy hell, I have to MOVE this stuff?

Sadly, by getting rid of my worldly possessions, I may be losing a few iotas of cool factor. Cuz, let's face it, how many girls do you know who own a Darth Vader life-size standie? (On sale for the low, low price of....well, we'll figure that out when you start drooling over it....)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Obligatory returned-from-vacation post

I'm back...obviously.

So how was England? you ask. Well, without going into too much detail and posting all kinds of pictures with explanations, England was beautiful. Very green. And everything sounds so much more civilized over there, even when people are telling you to piss off. (No, no one told me to piss off. Everyone was remarkably polite and kind and helpful. Maybe because of my odd and charming Canadian accent, eh?)

We stayed in Lymington, a coastal town on the Solent in the southwest region near the Isle of Wight. It's a quaint area with cobblestone streets, good shopping (they even had a La Senza), and a wharf. Lotsa boats.

Lymington's located in an area called the New Forest, famous for its protected animals. Wild horses and cows roam around freely, grazing by the side of the road without fear of cars or people. It's been like this since 1099. I shit you not.

We visited various towns, including Beaulieu, home of the third lord of Montagu whose family estate hosted a secret agent "finishing school" during WWII. (I smell a Harlequin novel...)
Once again, I shit you not.

Oh, and they had a motor museum and a James Bond exhibit there, too. Also, the Lord Montagu has gardens, a mansion, and a monorail on his grounds, open to the public for an admission fee. I want a monorail on my there a Lady Montagu?

We stayed at Elmer's Court, which had spectacular grounds with pheasants and rabbits and ducks roaming around everywhere. It was exactly like what you'd read about in a Jane Austen novel, only with resort facilities. We stayed in a time-share cottage. It was very comfy.

Yes, I did eat fish and chips.
Yes, I had a Cornish pasty.
No, I did not have bangers and mash. But I did have liver and bacon.
Yes, the beer was warm.
Yes, we went to London on a whirlwind one-day tour. It was insane.

We even had our own little Hobbity adventure, trekking through the swampland on a casual "walk"--(okay, so John carried me through the muck most of the time since I was wearing sandals)--that ended up with us crawling through thorny brambles and onto private land so we could get back to the main road. The theme from Fellowship of the Ring kept running through my head the whole time...but it was so much fun.

My favourite things about the whole trip:

It was a bakery delivery truck in London. The sign reads "DRIVERS DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE MUFFINS". Apparently, muffin theft is a big problem over there.

That's England in a few words. I hope I'm not expected to expand on that any further. In any case, you can see all the pictures, with captions, on my Facebook account.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Off to merry ol' England!

Eh, guvna', I'm off to seek adventure in jolly ol' England and per'aps 'ave a spot o' tea with the Queen!

Pip pip, cheerio, and other silly English colloquialisms, eh?

Be back Saturday July 21st.

Friday, June 29, 2007

End of an era....

I've finally given in and upgraded my eight-year-old cell phone handset.

Say goodbye to the brain-frying, two-tone Radiation King, and say hello to my sexy new Nokia slide phone, who I've lovingly named (*whispers*) Slider.

To protect the glass screen, I got a case the Telus guy recommended, since it was on sale for $10.
Sadly, it was made by Hummer.
I never thought I'd buy a was a moment of weakness....the shame of it all.....

Friday, June 22, 2007

I amz dead ppl?

On my way to work today, I looked up from my morning haze and suddenly realized that, waiting for the bus at York Mills Station, I was completely and utterly alone. Not a soul in site. The buses were emptied of passengers, the drivers nowhere in sight.

No one was waiting in line with me for the 122 Lesmill bus, a bus that is normally packed with workday communters. The driver eventually came, and for the entire trip I was the only passenger. As I sat there, staring around, wondering what parallel universe I'd woken up in, I started running through the possible scenarios in my head:

"I'm dead" theory: Just as Nicole Kidman in The Others realizes she is not alone in the house, so too did I conjecture the possibility that I was actually surrounded by hundreds of people I couldn't see, and that I was the ghost among them.

"I'm out of phase" theory: the space/time continuum has somehow been disrupted, and I've been caught in some anomaly that doesn't let me see other people. Like Beverly Crusher in that one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Abduction theory: Everyone else in the world has been abducted by aliens. Or Jesus. Whichever plot you subscribe to.

"I smell funny" theory: People are giving me a really, really wide berth today because I ate sushi last night. It's so bad, CP24 is running an on-going Vicki-radar scan to track where I am and where I'm headed so commuters can plan an alternate route. That would explain the helicopter that's been following me around...

Broken watch/sun theory: Did I wake up at the wrong time? Is today a holiday? Or a Sunday? Did the earth move? Has the sun shifted since I was asleep? Is it actually bright as day at 4:00 a.m. in the morning? You never know what those trick aliens will do while you're sleeping.

Subway delays theory: the most mundane but likely culprit. Even so, WTF? Empty bus platforms?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I've got a theory for you....

News today from Yahoo reports a Chilean lake has vanished.

They think geology did it.

But we all know it was much more sinister than that....

Thirsty megalomaniac evil terrorists, anyone?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Post 300!


And what better way to celebrate my 300th post than by announcing that one of my fanfiction stories, The Game, previously thought to be some quaint and eccentric (excuse to be anti-social) nerd habit, has been nominated for a 2006 UFO honorable mention award. Here's the badge to prove it:

Okay, so said like that, it doesn't mean much. Mind you, my story was the only Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic nominated this year, and I've never even heard of this Web site until today. So it was pretty cool to see the e-mail in my inbox this morning from some out-of-the-blue Web site saying "Hey, someone read your stuff and thinks you're cool."

Anyhow, I'm milking this for all it's worth. When I write my author profile for my Harlequin novel, you know that's going on there....

Meanwhile, yes, I have in fact finished my Harlequin novel, tentatively titled All in the Details. A host of lovely people I've met through have kindly agreed to beta-read for me.

A teaser, if you will:

Lilah Mann had to grow up fast when her father abandoned their family while she was only 17. She had to drop out of high school and work to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. She'll do anything for her mother and sisters--it's what drives her to make sure her new event planning business succeeds. And she'll do anything to make it work, up to and including engaging in some questionable business practices with her newest client, the too-sexy-for-words Kent Sullivan.

But what the senior publisher of Sullivan Media doesn't know is that the spunky, elfin-haired "event engineer" is the same woman he met at a Halloween costume ball only a week ago...minus a stunning red dress and a blond wig. Can Cinderella keep her slippers under wraps, or will Lilah's Prince Charming insist on a fairytale ending?

...Admittedly, that does sound cheesetacular, but if you've read any Harlequin novels (and I insist that you do!) then you should be glad there are no nymphs, vampires, or time-travelling Highlanders in my book.

Wish me luck: I'm already starting a second book....

Friday, June 01, 2007


Battlestar Galactica to end after season 4.


That's all I have to say. Now pardon me while I curl up in a corner and cry.


Interrobang: a punctuation mark that incorporates a question mark and an exclamation point--it actually looks like the two are superimposed on top of each other. It's rarely used, but is sometimes seen in British usage.

Scrutator: one who investigates.

Testate: Having made a legally valid will.

Since we're talking about the English language, I'll just take this opportunity to mention that I'm off to England for a week starting Friday. I'll be with John's family, staying in a town called Lymington, so before you call flood me with comments about high terror alerts, let me just mention that Lymington is about 60 miles away, in the southwest part of the country near the Isle of Wight.

Monday, May 28, 2007

It must be love when...

1. She pukes all over you and you don't fling her across the room.

2. You decide you really can spend hours upon hours making stupid faces at her, just to see that smile.

3. You stop referring to her as "the parasite."

4. Changing diapers becomes a skill in your eyes.

5. She has ceased tasting like turkey gravy and more like guilt.

6. Most of your conversations with her sound like this:

You: Ooja-booja-boojah! Goo-goo-goo? Heeeeee!
Her: *quizzical look*
You: Ahm-yahm-yahm eat my hand! You're a strong girl! Yes you are! You're going to eat my hand!
Her: *gnaws on your knuckle*
You: Squeeeee! Who's a funny girl? Who's making funny faces? Hmm? HMM? Goo goo goo goo....
Her: *fart*
You: YAY! Who's a gassy girl? WHO'S A GASSY GIRL??? YOU'RE a gassy girl!! Yes you are!
Her: *grin*

Happy three-monthday, Bowie!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I am so psyched for the Golden Compass movie...
See a little preview teaser looks so....boooootiful....
Go find out your daemon now!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

First draft picks!

OH THANK GOD, I've finally done the damn thing.

For those of you I haven't told, I've been working on writing my own Harlequin novel. I started writing it in November and I just now finished the first draft. (That thar' be a picture of me typing with my nose, since my hands fell off typing.) Yay me!

It's been six months of weekends and after-work hours in front of my computer trying to make two fickle characters hook up in a slightly conceivable and romantic fashion. Now, a number of you are probably saying, "Aw, but that's easy, all the stories follow a formula..." And while that may be true, I might add that nuclear physics also follows formulas, but that doesn't make it easy to do.

Was it hard? OH GOD, yes. Mostly because characters take on a life of their own, no matter what you try to make them do or how you make them want to act. And since my characters are often brooding, angsty, angry, bitter people with intimacy issues...well, just try to make someone like that fall in love.

Next steps are for me to edit this sucker down to under 65,000 words, the maximum word count for the series I'm pitching it to. And then I'll have to go through the arduous task of editing some more. And more. And more....

I've actually put most of this book through two to three edits already, but it's going to need a lot more spit and polish before I send it out to my beta readers (and for those of you who though fanfiction was just a hobby and would never come in handy, SUCK IT! I have beta readers!)

In the meantime, I'm looking for a pseudonym! A nom de plume, a pen name, an alias, a moniker. Why? Because Vicki So is too short on a book spine, and Harlequin readers don't go for overly-foreign names unless the story is a cultural one.

Got ideas? Come up with a list! Keep in mind, I want something borderline klassy (with a K) but not porntacular. And preferably female. If you can, keep a V in there somewhere.

Whoever comes up with the best name will win a free Harlequin book from my personal library (because I get em for free)! And if my book gets sold (crossing fingers), I'll sign a copy fer'll be worth millions of pesos one day!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Man pr0n

That's right: Harlequin makes smut for men, too.

While editing books from Don Pendleton's Mack Bolan universe, I realized just how subversively porntacular these stories are. Not in the hot and heavy engorged member kind of way: most of the time, there's never any explicit sex scenes.

In fact, most of these stories deal with international crises that a quasi-official mercenary group from Stony Man farm is usually assigned to clean up. So where's the porn, you ask?

It's in the guns. Lots of them. Big ones, little ones, and everything in between.

That's right, every shootout becomes phallusfest. The heroes barge into a heated situation, stroking their triggers to spray bullets at their enemies. They grunt and cry and groan as bursts of light and sound and force explode all around them. The ensuing orgiastic shower of shrapnel and blood always ends with the triumphant heroes standing over their litterally dozens of vanquished foes who lie twitching (post-orgasm) in pools of their own bodily fluids, dying little and big deaths.

And how do the heroes react to the death they've brought upon these nameless souls?

With a smile, of course.

I know, the gun/knife/sword/weapon as a phallic symbol is pretty old news. But if ever you need to write an essay about it, and you don't want to ready Tom Clancy, Mack is your man.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Or get them at the library...whatever you do, just get your dirty little hands on them!

The Twlight Lord by Beatrice Small.

This third in erotic fantasy series, The World of Hetar, deals with the kidnapping of a half-faerie woman by the Twilight Lord, a big ol' baddie with--count 'em--TWO wang doodles. His mission: to impregnate her with his spawn who will herald the end of all that is good, like sunshine and puppies.

I wish I had kept up a list of quotes from this books, but let me just say this: the word "rod" is used A in "she's been well-rodded" or "his dominant rod pulsed hotly".

Other stunning word to add to your erotic vocabulary include pleasures, manroot, and my personal favourite, rosehole.

It's in trade paperback for $17. If you have that kind of disposable income, this is a great read to stock your bathroom with, right in between that old Archie Double Digest and that issue of Playboy from January 2005.

Of course, if time-travelling Highlanders who fight evil are more your thing, read:

Dark Seduction, by Brenda Joyce.

Part of the Masters of Time series, which follows the exploits of hunky, oversexed magical guys in kilts, this erotic adventure into the 1400's (or 1600's? I can't remember...but does it matter? Warrior men in kilts! SEX!!!), Dark Seduction made me alternately laugh and cry all weekend. Laugh for obvious reason, and cry because I had to edit it.

Mass market paperback for $8. A perfect companion to the Nymph King.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Goodbye, cruel world...

Don't do it, man!

You have so much to live for!

Think about your Little Billy No-Ass! You worked so damn hard to get him that seatless pool chair!

And what about your gorgeous wife....?

Wait a second! She's RIGHT BEHIND THE DOOR!


(Ahh..SkyMall makes me laugh....)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I just bought the two pairs of ballet flats in the lower right hand corner over the weekend at the Payless Shoes BOGO sale, wondering all the while if I really needed more shoes.

So when I got home, I took all my shoes out and snapped this shot. There are 22 pairs of shoes there, for those of you trying to count. 24 if you count the running shoes I have stashed at work and my house slippers.

I've always considered my shoe fetish to be rather tame compared to others' I know, men included. I try to vary my styles but keep them consistently timeless and fashionable, as well as comfortable.

The question is, do I have enough shoes now? Am I woman enough?

The answer to both those questions is a resounding NO: not until I have handbags to match.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Sky is Malling

On the way to and from New York, I had the great pleasure of reading and taking home a complimentary copy of SkyMall, the airline shopping catalogue that showcases anything from massage chairs to fashionable women's apparel. Because apparently, you may just have the urge to purchase crap while you're sitting in your meat crate.

If nothing else, the catalogue does provide hours of entertainment: you really have to wonder what paleontologists will think upon unearthing one of these.

Or this.

Or this.

Or this.

Or this.

You know, this may just become a regularly featured showcase of crap....

A Helluva Tooooown...

Haroah Nuoak! John and I spent a fabulous three nights, four days in the Big Apple. Despite the Nor'Easter that blew through (it's what they call a big-ass storm that closed down parts of the city) and the subsequent wet and wild weather that I now blame for the cough/cold I am suffering, we got to see all the sights we wanted, and didn't have any major setbacks.

Highlights: this is a never-ending city. It's like walking around downtown Toronto and never seeing the sky. You live in perpetual city twilight because of all the skyscrapers. But wow, what a sight all that concrete is. And the streets haven't been painted with homeless people, would you believe!

The food was good, though pretty expensive anywhere along Broadway. If you ever plan to go, eat locally in places like Chinatown and Little Italy: it gets expensive to eat at chain restaurants in the big touristy areas like Times Square.

Shopping: meh, since the exchange rate isn't so good and we were both loathe to bring home crap, the only thing we ended up buying was an umbrella to stave off the rain, and some cough drops. The customs lady didn't believe us. (It's okay, though: I made up for the lack of shopping by going out today. John bought me the best hat ever for next winter...) We did visit the huge Toys R Us on Broadway and 42nd: to give you an idea of how big it is, there's a full-sized ferris wheel in the centre of the store. FAO Schwartz is still in business too, but I don't think it's as cool: they didn't have any Avatar toys at all.

Tips for travellers: fly into La Guardia Airport. It's closer than JFK.
Stay around Midtown. We stayed at the Rockefeller Center Hotel, a clean, quiet, no-frills hotel with nice fluffy towels and good service. Barely even a lobby to speak of, but the amenities are simple and the bed was really comfy. Plus, it was down the street from Radio City Music Hall, and steps from Fifth Avenue, Times Square, Central Park, and a whole bunch of other great sites. There was also a great little cafe next door that sold breakfast for pretty cheap (compared to going out somewhere to eat, that is.)

Coolest thing we saw there: I'm sure John would beg to differ, but I think it's this:

Help me USPS--you're my only hope!

And because everyone asks, air fare, hotel, and tickets to Les Miserables cost me a total of $1700 Cdn. on And it was well worth the money.

Next stop: San Diego Comic-Con! (In...oh...ten years or so...)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Presenting my doppelganger...

Aww, ain't she cute? And here I promised I wouldn't be THAT aunt--you know, the one who posts pictures up and boasts about how damn cute her first-born niece is.

Now at just over a month old, living with Bowie has revealed to me that she is, in fact, my clone. I've discovered some eerie similarities between the two of us that I just know her mom will blame me for passing on:

  • We both eat too damned fast.
  • We both whine and cry when we want to eat more but can't because we're too full.
  • We both swallow air when we eat and, as a result, get painfully bad gas.
  • We both love Uncle (white) John to hug and kiss us better.
  • We're both easily distracted by shiny objects.
  • We both need to eat every three hours or so.
  • We both babble incoherently to anyone in the room, and fuss when not enough attention is being paid to us.
  • In a choice between burping and flatulence, we'd both pick the latter.
  • We both like to be swaddled like a burrito at bedtime.
  • We both go through a lot of laundry.
  • Passing gas is our favourite passtime, next to eating and sleeping.
  • We both smell like baby: she because she is one, I because I eat them.

There are, of course, some marked differences between adult me and baby clone Bowie:

  • Her burps are heartily encouraged. Mine are just frowned at.
  • Her farts elicit delighted cries and praise. Mine clear the room.
  • When she craps her pants, people smilingly clean her up and appraise the quality and quantity of mess she's made, making it dinner conversation. When know, I'm not going there.
  • When she's upset and crying inconsolably, she gets a boob shoved into her face. When I'm upset and crying inconsolably, I'm lucky if anyone hands me a beer.
  • When she spits up, it's a cause for concern. When I spit up, it's a waste of food and usually an embarrassingly laughable moment.
  • When everyone's staring at her in awe, she basks in love and sleeps peacefully. When everyone's staring at me in awe, I start rocking back and forth in paranoia and usually scream "STOP LOOKING AT ME!" at the top of my lungs.